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Law firm caught in phone hack, charged $65,000 for international calls

Law firm caught in phone hack, charged $65,000 for international calls (ABC7)

David Chamowitz just got a $65,000 phone bill.

“Are you going to pay it,” asked ABC7’s Tim Barber.

“No way,” said Chamowitz.

The Alexandria attorney says someone hacked into his law firm’s phone lines in the middle of the night to call Serbia and Algeria. Chamowitz showed us an e-mail from his service provider’s fraud department, which shows someone made 195 calls in just 45 minutes.

“We didn’t do it. We didn’t make those calls,” said Chamowitz, who only has three people working in his law office.

ABC7 called the service provider -- Verizon -- and a spokesperson told us that hacking like this is not common and the company is investigating.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, hackers can break into voicemail systems to make international collect calls. They target systems that still have default passwords, or systems with easy passwords, such as 1-2-3-4.

Chamowitz says he changed his password after the first hack, but was still targeted a second time.

“Right now our long distance is off,” said Chamowitz. “I am kind of afraid to turn it back on because we fixed what we thought was the problem and it is apparently not fixed.”

Businesses are not the only targets. People could also be targeted at home.

Chamowitz tells ABC7 he intends to report the crime to the FBI.

Here is a link to the FCC’s website, which has ways you can protect yourself: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/voicemail-system-hacking

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